NASA unveiled the crew behind the long-awaited Artemis II mission on Monday, revealing the names of those who are set to fly around the Moon, who will boldly go where no one has gone before – since 1972.
The crew will consist of four astronauts, three from NASA and one from the Canadian Space Agency (CSA), who will take off in the Orion spacecraft in a mission spanning approximately 10 days in 2024. The crew will also include the first woman and a person of color on a trip out of low Earth orbit and towards the Moon.
The NASA mission follows up on the success of the Artemis I mission and is paving the way for the widely anticipated Artemis III, which will finally bring human boots onto the lunar surface for the first time in over 50 years.
Here they are. @SenBillNelson announces the #Artemis II crew, the next astronauts to fly around the Moon:@Astro_Christina@Astro_Jeremy@AstroVicGlover@Astro_ReidWe go together. https://t.co/XdUizg2Wye pic.twitter.com/6Yo4I2lKeJ— NASA (@NASA) April 3, 2023
Which astronauts are going to the Moon?
The first member of the team is mission specialist Christina Koch. No strangers to breaking barriers, Koch was part of the first all-woman spacewalk back in 2019 alongside fellow trailblazer astronaut Jessica Meir.
Now, she is set to be the first woman to fly to the Moon – even if she isn't actually going to land on it, though NASA has promised that a woman will land on the Moon as part of the Artemis program.
Next on the team is the other mission specialist Jeremy Hansen, coming from the CSA. This former fighter pilot has plenty of experience in the sky, but the Artemis II mission is this astronaut's first trip toward the stars.
"I am honored to represent Canada as a member of Artemis II on the first crewed test flight of the Orion spacecraft around the Moon," Hansen said over Twitter.
The third member of the team is Victor Glover. An experienced pilot boasting over 3,000 flight hours throughout his career, Glover will be the mission's pilot, being the man behind the metaphorical wheel heading to the Moon.
Glover will also be making history in another way – he is the first person of color going to the Moon. Though he won't be landing on it, NASA has also said that the Artemis program will see a person of color land on the lunar surface.
Lastly, rounding up the team is the mission's commander, G. Reid Wiseman. The Baltimore native has had a long career in in the space sector, after years of service in the US military. He has spent six months back in 2014 living in space on board the International Space Station and served as Chief of the Astronaut Office for nearly two years.
Now he is set to command mankind's first crewed trip to the Moon.
What is the Artemis II mission?
The Artemis II mission will see the Orion spacecraft take off on November 2024 for a lunar flyby, flying out of Earth's atmosphere and orbiting around the Moon before returning.
This trip, which will last 10 days, is historic for a number of reasons. Aside from being the first spacecraft to head towards the Moon since the Apollo 17 mission, the final manned mission to the Moon, landed on the lunar surface in 1972, it will also be the first crewed spacecraft to leave low Earth orbit since 1972.
This is paving the way forward for the establishment of a long-term human presence on the lunar surface, the next step of which is the Artemis III mission.
Back in November, NASA even said they aim to have people living and working on the Moon by 2030.
Further, it will also help pave the way for NASA's next big goal: Sending astronauts to Mars.
This is an integral step towards making the reaches of space just a little bit closer and more accessible for people here on Earth.